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3M Hit With Another $50 Million Verdict in Latest Earplugs Lawsuit Trial

Riddle Brantley LLP   |  April 11, 2022   |  

Latest Earplugs Trial Verdict Puts Further Pressure on 3M for Potential Settlement

3M was hit with a $50 million verdict in the latest trial involving claims its earplugs caused hearing loss among U.S. soldiers.In Florida, a federal jury dealt another blow to 3M during another bellwether trial concerning the company’s allegedly defective military earplugs. Luke Vilsmeyer of Indiana was awarded $50 million in compensatory damages for hearing loss he acquired in the U.S. Army, where he was issued 3M’s Combat Arms earplugs.

This is the eighth loss in 13 bellwether trials of 3M earplugs lawsuits that 3M has faced over allegations that the company continued to sell its Combat Arms earplugs to the military despite knowing they were defective. 3M continues to battle more claims in court as they face the largest multi-district litigation (MDL) ever brought before U.S. courts. Prior to this verdict, a jury awarded a $110 million settlement to two other U.S. Army veterans who claimed the same Combat Arms earplugs were defective and caused significant hearing damage.

In total, plaintiffs have been awarded more than $160 million in the previous six 3M earplugs trials.

A total of 280,000 service members and their families have sought compensation from 3M for injuries sustained potentially due to the allegedly faulty design of the widely distributed earplugs.

3M Suffered Previous Loss in U.S. Government Lawsuit

Prior to facing these recent trials, 3M was forced to settle a whistleblower lawsuit filed under the False Claims Act by the Department of Justice. 3M was required to pay out $9.1 million over an alleged defect in the Combat Arms earplugs that caused them to fail at protecting soldiers against damaging levels of sound. Under the terms of the settlement, 3M did not admit any fault or liability for the defect. 

3M’s Response to Recent Earplug Lawsuit Losses

3M has already filed appeals against the most recent verdicts in 3M earplug lawsuits. The company has also created a website where it released a statement saying “3M has a long history of partnering with the U.S. military. We are committed to making products that help protect our troops and support their missions. Unfortunately, this commitment is being misconstrued in the Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2) litigation.”

3M has made it clear that the company will continue to defend against any fault in the earplug litigation cases. The company continues to press forward with multiple appeals for the cases in which settlements have been awarded.

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What’s Next for 3M Earplugs Lawsuits? 

There are still around 42,000 active military earplug claims pending against 3M. These cases have been combined into MDL to expedite the legal process, and there are more bellwether trials scheduled through May 2022.

If there is no “global” settlement agreement by the end of the bellwether trials, a U.S. district judge in Florida has ruled that all active cases will be remanded back to their original courts. They will then be tried in groups of 500 cases until all are resolved.

Do You Have a Claim?

If you served in active combat in the U.S. military between 2003 and 2015, used 3M Combat Arms earplugs, and were later diagnosed with hearing loss or tinnitus, you may be entitled to compensation. An experienced 3M earplugs lawsuit attorney at Riddle & Brantley may be able to help. Please call 1-800-525-7111 today and let’s review your claim.

Justice Counts for our brave service men and women. Please call 1-800-525-7111 and let’s see how we can help. We don’t get paid unless you do. It’s as simple as that.